Chinese researchers have discovered an important pathogenic mechanism of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, gaining a better understanding of how the bacterium causes disease.
They made the discovery by identifying a previously unrecognized mechanism that Mycobacterium tuberculosis uses to suppress host immunity. A paper on the finding has been published on the website of the science journal Nature.
The discovery was made through the joint efforts by two research teams, which are led by Ge Baoxue from the School of Medicine of Tongji University and Rao Zihe from ShanghaiTech University, respectively.
The researchers have found that one of the proteins secreted by tuberculosis bacteria is very "smart." It can use human protein molecules to attack its own immune function, thus producing virulence and leading to tuberculosis.
Experts on tuberculosis said the discovery has broadened researchers' vision of the role of the protein modification system in the regulation of infectious diseases.
"We hope to actively promote the application of these basic research results in clinical diagnosis and treatment, as well as the research and development of anti-tuberculosis drugs and vaccines," said Ge. (Xinhua)
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